Saturday, May 20, 2017

Well, Hello Again!

Yes. I know. I said I was back and I thought I was back but clearly I was not back so let us just move on, shall we?

Excuses are as follows: crazy first 6 months at a new job, dead computer, continuous internet issues (partly the bad computer's fault, as it turns out), and just plain didn't have the energy after a crazy work week.

Thankfully, the job has calmed down just a bit - or maybe I've learned enough now that I don't ponder the problems so deeply that I drain all of the energy from my brain cells. I did replace the dead computer, which died not even two years after purchase - and no, I did not get an extended warranty. 

Computer buying tip - if you get a PC with the new i7 Intel processor, make sure you get the proper cooling system on it as well. The dead computer, aka very expensive doorstop, had the i7 but did not have the right cooling system. The new one does so hopefully it will last much longer. There is an app on it that lets me monitor the temperature as well as two vertical light strips on the front that glow in colors corresponding to the range on the temp monitor. If it goes to orange, I need to shut down whatever I'm doing to let the thing cool down. Hasn't gotten there yet but it will go to yellow when I play some of my games. Generally it says green.

Excuses aside, I do apologize for going AWOL on you. Not making any promises not to do it again in the future but I do have every intention of at least the occasion post so that complete abandonment of the blog is not a thing.

And now for the reason I've dropped in. I polished for the first time in a loooong time and was so impressed with the stuff that I had to share. 

I've been getting the Julep Maven box for quite a while now. I love the fact that I can customize the thing for what I want to receive. It's also pretty reasonable - $19.99 per month, paid in quarterly installments - and you can skip a month if you want. They also have add-ons that you can get at a deeply discounted price. Add three or more and you get a free gift, which is usually a polish. 

They have expanded from just polish to makeup and skincare, including some brushes, which are very nice. If you'd like to give them a try, go here and sign up.

Now, on with the pretty polish.

This is one is called Gemini.


Sparkly, color shifting, and green - what's not to like? I love these kinds of polishes because they do a pretty good job of camouflaging any bubbles that might decide to join the party. Is it a bubble or a piece of glitter? No one knows but you.

I have heard all kinds of stories about Julep polishes being bad but the only complaint I have for this one is that the polish did begin to thicken up as I went along. Not a big deal with nail polish thinner close at hand. And a good shake halfway through the job works pretty well, too.

And by the way, the pic above is from day two. This is why I'm very impressed. 

Here's what it looked like when I first put it on Thursday night.


Not the best pic but then I hadn't planned on blogging it. I was just sending a text to friends to show off that I had finally done some polishing. And not a bad polish job for having taken a lot of time off.

And now today, as I write this more than 24 hours later.




Just a bit of tip wear and maybe some small chips at the cuticle - which is weird for me. I should also say that I'm not easy on a manicure so to only have chips at the cuticle is beyond amazing. That last pic shows the shift to blue - or tries to.

While the colored part of the manicure is very pretty, I think the staying power can be attributed to the base and top coats used.


In the past, I have favored Orly Bonder for a base coat and Out The Door by INM for the top. I think the Julep is performing above and beyond. I mean, no chips after more than 24 hours? Remarkable. Granted, you get less in the bottle with Julep but with the way I can get these at reduced prices as add-ons, I think they're a bargain. The top coat is even quick drying, though the bottle does not make that claim. 

Just about all of the polishes I have from Julep claim to have an oxygen technology thing that supposedly allows the nails to 'breathe.' There is even a special treatment product that is used alone to give the nails a 'break' from layers of polish - I do not recommend using it as a base coat, however. I did that once and the polish peeled completely off after exposure to water. The treatment actually should be applied as one coat daily, which would take care of any loss due to water, I suppose. I'd probably only use it on a weekend or during time off from the office.

Some of the polishes claim to go further with something called Hexanol, which is supposed to help strengthen the nails. All of the polishes are 5-free. 

As with Zoya polishes, all of Julep's polishes have female names - except for their Zodiac series of polishes. You can even submit a name for consideration as well as join in on the development of new products, colors and such. I'm very impressed with the company as a whole, to be honest.

How many do I have at this point?  Well....


Not quite a Glossybox full but getting there. And I just noticed one laying down on the job. 

So there you have it. The first polish job after - well, I've lost count how long it's been but I'm finding a renewed interest in doing my nails. Might be because I now go out of the house 5 days a week or maybe I was just ready to get back into treating myself. That's another blog post, though.

For now, I'll say thanks for reading - and sticking with me through this latest blog drought - and stay tuned.

Penny

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Paula's Choice Trials Continued

Happy Wednesday and Happy February!

Continuing the review of some of the trial sizes I've purchased from Paula's Choice, today we'll talk about the 'extras'.

These are products that can either substitute for products out of the main routine or can be added. This lineup is mainly comprised of treatment products with one, very special extra hydrating moisturizer.


Quite the compilation but one that I think will give me even better results.

Let's start with the only full size product in the bunch - the Clinical Ultra-Rich Moisturizer.


I don't think I can adequately express just how much this stuff has come to mean for me and my very dry skin. It's just life. It truly is. It does exactly what it says on the tube. As I said in the previous post, I combine three moisturizers to help ease the uncomfortable dryness I experience this time of year, although I have sucessfully used this moisturizer all by itself at times.

This is a very thick, very rich product that my skin just drinks up and begs for more. The tube is huge and will last me through the entire season. Since I don't tend to have the dryness issue during the warmer months, I will probably only reorder later in the year once this runs out. 

Onward..

While I have been using the gel formula of the 2% BHA exfoliant, and have in the past used the lotion formula of the 1%, I wanted to see what the liquid version was like.


This is more like a water based toner than a gel or lotion. It's also a bit more drying than the other two. I apply this using a cotton pad and it basically sinks in and disappears, whereas the gel will remain on top of my skin. While it might work more effectively than the gel, there is also nothing to keep it from being so drying. This would be an excellent product for someone with oily skin. I will continue to use it but will probably wait until the warmer months before using it again.

There is another BHA product available for use on particularly troublesome spot - like my nose and cheeks which still harbor blackheads despite the dryness. In an effort to remedy the issue, I gave the 9% BHA a shot.


This is the travel version and I have purchased several until I finally got the full sized version. The recommendation on it is to use it only at night but I have used it during the day without a problem. As long as you use a good SPF, I don't believe using it during the day would be a problem. Then again, we haven't seen much of the sun lately so that determination may change once the sun finally returns.

The BHA in this one is mixed with several other ingredients to buffer against the harshness of the BHA. The consistency is more like an oil but it does seem to penetrate. I have noticed a difference in some areas where I'm using it, although the blackheads are being very stubborn. On the other hand, I have this bump on the side of my nose that I do think is getting smaller. 

I have used this by itself and mixed with the gel. So far, I do think it's working but only time will tell if it will finally give those blackheads the boot. 

Last but certainly not least, I have been using two retinol products. The first one I tried was the Resist Intensive Wrinkle Repair Retinol Serum.


I use this product at night right now and I really like it. It's very hydrating and I do believe I'm seeing some changes in the few deeper wrinkles I have - the deepest across the bridge of my nose and on my forehead. I think this has also worked to give my skin a smoother texture. The consistency is sort of gel-like but also oil-like. It's kind of hard to explain really.  

This is the travel size that I used up but I did order the full size before that happened. The bottle has the coolest cap on it. Instead of twisting the cap entirely off, the pump rises up as the cap is twisted then locks into place. Twist the other direction and the pump drops back down. 

While the serum can be used either day or night, I'm using it at night in place of the Skin Recovery serum.

The other retinol product I'm trying out is one I just started with - the Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment.


There doesn't seem to be much in this travel size and maybe I'm using too much but this is another one that just doesn't spread well at all. I've only used it once and while I didn't experience any burning or irritation using it alone, I think I will try mixing it in with my nighttime moisturizer just to give that a retinol boost and help to spread the treatment a bit farther. I think I can safely use both this and the serum at the same time as long as this is mixed with the nighttime moisturizer. 

There are a couple other extras that I have tried and either have purchased the full size or plan to, plus some that I want to try but aren't available in either sample or travel version. Once I have them purchased, I will feature them in another post at some point in the future. 

If you are looking for high-quality skin care at a reasonable price, I highly recommend stopping by the Paula's Choice website and give some of her products a try. While the prices are definitely not drugstore, they also aren't high-end either. I would call them more of a middle range but so worth it. I can truly say that I am experiencing the best skin of my life right now and it's all thanks to Paula's Choice. And no, this post is not sponsored even though it might sound like it 😉

Also, have a look at the skin care information available there. I know that I will never again use anything packaged in a jar now that I know how air and light can begin to break down active ingredients from the moment the jar is opened and render them useless in a very short time. Just one of the many informative tidbits I've learned from perusing all of the articles and documentation on the website. Not to mention the Beautypedia as well as the books Paul has published. This woman really knows her stuff and it shows.

That's all I have for this week. Hope your week is going well. 

Thanks for reading and stay tuned.

Penny

Monday, January 30, 2017

Paula's Choice Skin Care Trials

Happy Monday!

Sorry there were no posts last week. Though it wasn't intentional, I did end up taking the entire week off from blogging. Still fighting some kind of respiratory thing. I think it's just allergies and sinus type stuff but there's also some hard coughing involved so I don't know for sure what it might be. I have been getting more sleep than I usually do and that is definitely helping. 

This week, I thought I would share with you the Paula's Choice products I am testing out. 

If you've ever been to the Paula's Choice website, you've seen just how many products there are to choose from. Kind of overwhelming, actually. They do offer assistance in making the right choices for your skin, I just haven't taken advantage of that option. Yet. Instead, I've been giving things a try to see how they will fit into my routine or not. There are a few options available in a travel size and I took advantage of a recent promotion where all of the travel sizes were $5 each. 

They also have sample sizes, which are generally little sachet types and really only enough for a single use. The travel sizes provide a longer testing time so that you can make a better informed choice. If I could make a huge suggestion to Paula's Choice it would be that all of their products be available in the larger travel size so we can give any products we're considering a longer period of time to see if they'll work for us or not. 

So the travel sizes I've purchased over the last month are right here - well, one is a full size but I did get a sachet size and liked it so much from just that one use that I purchased the full size.



Since there are so many here, I'm going to break this review up into two posts.

First, we'll talk about the basic skin care items.



All are from the Resist line. This line features products for pretty much all skin types except for extra dry. The only product missing from the travel sizes I own is the toner. I did get 3 of the sachet samples to try - each one provided a single use but it was enough for me to decide I do want the full size version at some point. As for the rest...let's talk about that.

The first product in the line would be the first step in both a day and night skin care routine - the Optimal Results Hydrating Cleanser.



This is a lotion type of cleanser with very little foaming action, if any. It is water soluble so it rinses fairly clean with little residue left over. I do like how my skin feels afterward. It still feels slightly tight but then the only cleanser I have ever used that did not do that is the pump version of Noxema. I still use Noxema in the shower to wash away the residue of the ELF scrub that I still use.

I am considering getting the full size of this cleanser to use in tandem with the Skin Recovery Softening Cream Cleanser that I also like.

The next step in the routine would be the toner, which I don't actually have but I can talk about. It's called the Resist Advanced Replenishing Toner. It is more like a very thin lotion applied with a cotton pad. Not as watery as the Skin Recovery Enriched Calming Toner I've been using. I do like how it makes my skin feel and will probably get the full size at some point.

After toner, the next step is to apply an exfoliant.



I already use both the BHA and AHA gel exfoliants but was wanting something a little more moisturizing. This one contains 5% AHA compared to the 8% AHA in the gel form. This product is more of a moisturizing cream that is yellow-ish in color. What I do like about the 5% formula is that it does seem to sink in a bit better than the gel. The gel formula seems to just sit on top of my skin.

Another big difference between the gel and this cream is that it seems to take an awful lot of product to distribute evenly all over my face and neck. I'm pumping out twice as much product as I do with the gel. Maybe that's just the thicker consistency but I'm thinking the 5% cream won't last nearly as long as the 8% gel formula.

Finally, after using the 8% strength, this feels almost like taking a step backward but I need to use it a bit longer to determine whether or not I can still see some improvement.  I have seen a noticeable difference after using the gel for the last few months. I'll keep trying the 5%  before I can make a decision on the full size.

A treatment product follows the exfoliant. The Resist line offers the Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum in the normal to dry line.



The serum is a lot thicker in consistency when compared to the Skin Recovery Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum I've been using. It also does not contain the retinol of the Skin Recovery serum. I have been using both mixed together but I believe I prefer the Skin Recovery serum over this one. I can and do use the Skin Recovery serum on my entire eye area - including the lid - without any irritation and I do believe it is making a huge difference in the wrinkles and crepey-ness I'm experiencing around my eyes. So I will be sticking with the Skin Recovery serum going forward.

After application of the treatment product comes moisturizer. 



I do like the expressed benefits of using this product, however it is not hydrating enough for my Winter dry skin. I might, however, give this one another try during warmer months. It is a light lotion consistency that does sink in nicely, it just doesn't give me long lasting comfort compared to what I've been using. 

I have been mixing three moisturizers together - the Moisture Boost Hydrating Treatment Cream, the Skin Recovery Replenishing moisturizer, and another one that I'll talk about on Wednesday - along with a dollop of the Resist Hyaluronic Acid Booster. I cannot go without the booster, especially right now. I ran out of it not too long ago and had to wait to reorder and I really noticed the difference. I will probably always have the booster on hand.

I did try replacing the Skin Recovery moisturizer with this one but it just wasn't the same hydration wise. I still need more during the dry Winter months so I will probably not order the full size until I feel that my skin is not as dry as it is right now. It is still a good moisturizer and I would recommend it to anyone who has slightly dry or combination skin that is more dry than it is oily.

For daytime, I will then apply a second moisturizer with SPF if I am not going to be putting on a foundation with SPF. The first one I tried from the Resist line was the Cellular Defense Daily Moisturizer with SPF 25.



While most of the SPF moisturizers Paula's Choice offers have a subtle cucumber scent, this one smells like dill pickles to me, which I don't find unpleasant at all. This one does have the titanium dioxide type of SPF so it had that white-ish cast to it when you first put it on but that does diminish to leave behind just a glowy look. 

The problem for me with mineral based SPF is that it always makes my skin feel a bit more tight than I like. This one is no exception. I can combat it a bit by pressing in another moisturizing product I have on hand but that does diminish the effectiveness of the SPF. 

I also began to break out after using it for a few days. Whether that was a result of the product or something else, I can't say but as it turns out, I won't be able to get the full size to give it a longer trial. This particular product had to be discontinued because they were unable to obtain some of the ingredients used. They are currently working on a new formulation but until that one comes out, I have to find something else to use. I took a look and found one with SPF 50 and ordered the trial size of that one.



A bit of weirdness happened with this one. The product I thought I was ordering was the Youth-Extending Daily Hydrating Fluid. You can see what I actually received. After comparing the active ingredients between the two, I'm thinking they are the same product just renamed. 

Now while this is meant for people with normal, oily, and combination skin, I have been able to use it successfully as the last step in my morning routine. I feel no dryness whatsoever and I do like how it takes down the shine of the other products I've put on my face. It does smell like suntan lotion and there's a reason for it. This one is not a mineral based SPF. That's also probably the reason my skin doesn't feel tight after using it. I've always had better success with the chemical type of sunscreen versus the mineral type. I will be ordering the full size of this one.

Wednesday's post will discuss the 'extras' I've been trying out as well as the third moisturizer in that trio mix I spoke of earlier. 

Until then, thanks for reading and stay tuned.

Penny

Friday, January 20, 2017

Chocolate Every Month! Chococurb

Happy Friday!

How about something completely different for a rare Friday post? Let's talk about some chocolate. I saw this in a YouTube video and decided to give it a try.

Chococurb is a monthly chocolate subscription box. There are two sizes available. The mini goes for $20 a month and you get at least 3 gourmet premium chocolate items. There is also a larger box called the classic that goes for $35 a month. The classic contains 5-7 chocolate items. I got the mini to start with but I will be upgrading to the classic for future boxes. You can specify the type of chocolates you prefer but each month will be a surprise.

The box is the same color and about the same size as the Beauty Box 5 box, so I thought that box had finally arrived - it's late this month. But I was very happy to see it was Chococurb.



Comes wrapped in red tissue with their signature sticker holding the paper together.

looks a bit orange here but it really is red

And the chocolate...


So, let's go from small to large, shall we?

The green box holds two dark chocolate coated truffles with an awesomely delicious soft filling. These are from a brand called Evolve.





Did I mention that these are awesomely delicious? The blueberry flavor is predominate here. That's what I noticed the most. And it's rich and smooth and just melted in my mouth.

The next thing I tried was the Fireweed Honey in Dark Chocolate from Gusto.


This is a solid chocolate bar with a pretty design on the top.


Looks kind of like a puzzle, doesn't it? But I didn't take the time to break them apart to see if they made an entire picture. Too anxious to try the thing.

I thought the honey would be a type of filling but it's not. 


That is solid, dark chocolate right there with a delicate honey taste. 

And finally, the largest. Also a chocolate bar, Orange Passion from Vivra.


Nice little segmented rows that break apart easily.


This is also a solid piece of chocolate with visible slivers of orange peel and a deeply orange flavor. 


I am more than a little partial to any orange flavored chocolate so this is right up my alley. Other ingredients include passion fruit powder and sea salt.

While I love all three, the orange has to be my favorite, hands down. But I'll be checking to see if I can get larger sizes of the other two as well.

I'm battling respiratory issues right now - what else is new? So I'm not sure if I'll have anything new for Monday. Although, I do have some new skin care products from Paula's Choice that I am loving right now. Might share those with you for Monday if I get the energy to work over the weekend. 

Hope your day is going well. Thanks for reading and stay tuned.

Penny

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Walgreens Eyeshadow Palette Haul - Rimmel and Cover Girl

Happy Wednesday!

I know. I know. Like I needed more eyeshadow - especially after getting the Sweet Peach palette. But you know how it is. Most people have a weakness. Mine just happens to be eyeshadow palettes. 

Drug store brands have really been stepping up their game lately. Lots of new makeup has been released and from the sounds of it, much of it is very good. 

I happened to see the Rimmel Magnifeyes Shadow palettes during an earlier visit to Walgreens but passed at the time. Plus, it was still a few days before payday. 

Then I saw them on YouTube and...well...


....now I own'em.

I don't believe these are intended to be dupes of the Naked palettes but I'm thinking it wouldn't be hard to find a few shadows that look similar in here. I don't own any of the Naked palettes so I can't do a comparison.

What I can do is show swatches of what I do own. Each palette has 12 shadows in mostly a mixture of mattes and shimmers. There are a couple of glitters in there as well, though. They all seem decently pigmented, although a few might take some extra effort. There are a few really soft, powdery ones as well. They do not have individual names, either.

Palette #1 is called Keep Calm & Wear Gold.


This one has 4 definite mattes and one that seems to have more of a satin finish - the gray one on the left end. The one next to it has a holographic glitter overspray that did not translate into the swatch.


Palette #2 is called London Nudes Calling.


This has a few deeper shades - all but one are some level of shimmer. The two on the left side at the very end appear to be duo chromes. The second from the left is a dark, dark brown with a red flash. The one next to is is more of a warm, peachy brown.


The third and final palette, and I think my favorite, is called Grunge Glamour.


This one has grays, blues, and an awesome rosy purple. There's 4 mattes in this one as well.


Of the three, only one would require help creating a complete eye look. London Nudes Calling needs a good transition shade and a matte highlight shade, at least for my use. The other two can get by with what's in the palette.

And speaking of needing more to create a complete eye look, check this one out.


Covergirl decided to add to their Trunaked collection with this gorgeous jewel toned palette. All are pretty much a shimmer of some level so unless you just want that sparkly, disco ball quality on your eyes, you would need to pull in some shades from somewhere else.

Still, get a load of the purple, blue and green here.


Those three alone made this one a must have for me. I think my mouth actually dropped open when I saw this in a drugstore haul on YouTube. I think it was Kathleen Lights but I'm not certain now.

As with the other Trunaked palettes, the quality here is amazing.


The only reason the one on the left, second from the top doesn't show up well is because it's so very light with only a hint of flash. The purple is a bit of a duo chrome with a light blue shift. And that blue - kind of scared to do an eye look with that one but I'm gonna do it anyway. The trick will be keeping it strictly on my lids and using a neutral crease shade.

There's tons more new products out at the drugstore but I think I'm done now - well, for this pay period, anyway. 😏

Hope your day is going well. Thanks for reading and stay tuned!

Penny

Monday, January 16, 2017

Too Faced Sweet Peach Eyeshadow Palette

Happy Monday!

I am excited to share with you a palette that I've been eyeing for some time now. For Christmas, I received a gift card from Sephora and I knew exactly what I would spend it on.


I've seen YouTube reviews and swatches of this palette and knew I had to add it to my collection. 


There are a good variety of colors in the palette, from light to dark, all of which I hear are supposed to represent parts of the peach. I'm thinking that's somewhat of a stretch, not that it matters. 

As with many of the previous Too Faced palettes, this one is also metal with a magnetic kind of closure.


I love the gradient color as well as the little, embossed peaches. And yes, it does smell like peaches. Mine is not as strong as I've heard some are - or maybe the scent just doesn't bother me as much as it does others. 

And this is what it looks like inside.


Not the best rendering of the colors but I'm quickly losing daylight and had to use flash, which does tend to wash colors out. Hopefully, the swatches will give you a better idea.

This does have a mirror but I'm not sure how useful it will be. You can see the overlay graphics that take up some mirror space but I suppose in a pinch, what little bit of useful mirror is available would suffice.

Now for swatches. You'll probably be able to tell how soft and a bit powdery some of the shadows are. On the other hand, all are quite pigmented and, for me, that's the important part.

I've swatched them exactly as they are laid out in the palette, starting with the first column of shadows on the left.

 first column: White Peach, Nectar, Peaches 'n Cream 
second column: Luscious, Cobbler, Georgia

 first column: Just Peachy, Candied Peach, Caramelized
second column: Bless Her Heart, Bellini, Puree

first column: Tempting, Peach Pit, Summer Yum
second column: Charmed, I'm Sure, Delectable, Talk Derby To Me

There are a good variety of finishes here as well: 6 mattes (White Peach, Peaches 'n Cream, Georgia, Puree, Summer Yum, Delectable), 10 shimmers (Nectar, Luscious, Cobbler, Just Peachy, Caramelized, Bless Her Heart, Bellini, Tempting, Peach Pit, Charmed, I'm Sure), and 2 glitters (Candied Peach, Talk Derby To Me). However, as we all probably know, glitters sometimes don't translate well to the lid and usually end up looking more like mattes than glitters.

The one that surprised me in color was Tempting. In the palette it looks like a black shimmer but the camera captured it as a dark, gold/green. 

I ended up doing simpler eye looks last week to save time getting to work so I haven't had a chance to use the palette yet. I'm looking forward to seeing how these shadows perform all day. 

The palette is $49 and is part of a large collection that also includes face and lip products. Not sure if it's a permanent collection or not but I do know that it has been a very popular item. I was actually surprised I was able to get my hands on it. 

That's it for this Monday. Hope you're having a good day! Thanks for reading and stay tuned.

Penny